Saturday, July 21, 2012

Accuracy in Genealogy

Does Accuracy in History Matter?

This is the title of a recent review by Megan Smolenyak on the book  American Tapestry,  about Michelle Obama's ancestors written by Rachel Swarns posted at Huffington Post 

 A comment on the review:
11:46 PM on 06/19/2012 by 'Erl92'
I believe in accuracy in history but often history is shaky at best. For instance you mentioned Elizabeth Warren and Cherokee history. Some of the history on Native Americans, and even blacks, is often inaccurate as there was forced assimilation in some cases and in others voluntary assimilation. Natives blended into white society as a matter of survival and to obtain rights that only whites could have. These days it might be cool to have Indian ancestry but in years past people hid that fact. White supremacist like Walter Plecker did everything he could to deny people of color rights that included voting, land ownership, schooling, language and their very culture. Often ancestry is passed down orally especially for Native Americans who had an oral culture. There are no easy answers because as much as you do want accuracy history is embedded with inaccuracies. 
 Recently an article on Melungeons was in the news but reported findings not quite accurate to the report. The report itself was flawed and drew conclusions of a group of people by focusing on some families such as Goins and glossing over other families that were considered core families. They mostly focused on paternal lineage but only on selected ones to draw conclusions while maternal importance was overlooked. Even though the report showed mostly European haplogroups the article written came out much different. 
The bottom line is that accuracy requires blending records and accurate science with the historical narrative of the times.
On June 30th I posted this to the Melungeon Rootsweb list, although I had meant to post it to the DNA list it mistakenly went to the wrong list.  Shortly after I posted it I received this email from Janet Crain;
Joanne; This message is inconsistent with the rules and guidelines set forth by the administrators [Janet Crain] of the Melungeon list.
You are discussing a DNA project on the wrong list, you are being hypercritical of a group of people well known to other list members and lastly you are seeking to embarrass one individual in particular.

Therefore you are now on moderation.

Please improve the tone of your posts. Try to be positive and friendly.

Janet Crain
Melungeon Rootsweb List

Imagine that .... hypercritical.....  I simply posted a comment that someone called 'Erl92' posted to an article at Huffington Post. Shortly afterwards I was also put on moderation on the Melungeon DNA list, no warning, no notice, Janet Crain simply will not tolerate any criticism of her and her co-authors paper. They are censoring anything they can about this paper and will not answer questions regarding the paper.

When the first DNA report was published by Brent Kennedy and Dr. Kevin Jones 10 years ago they were heavily criticized with most of the criticism coming from Jack Goins, Janet Crain, and Penny Ferguson [myself included] someone called Frank, his cousin or relative named Jon [ fake names of course] and a few others. Brent Kennedy never backed off, never had anyone banned, moderated, etc, but simply did the best he could to answer everyone's questions.

The criticism of this DNA report on the Melungeon list worked quite well as this two year project by Jones and Kennedy went down faster than a speeding bullet. Apparently Janet Crain realizes if the truth be known about this project and it's so called 'peer reviewed paper' it likely would end up the same place as Jones and Kennedy -- in the archives of the Melungeon history along with the diseases, bumps, and squats.

I will no doubt be banned permanently from both Melungeon lists but will take every opportunity on every list, discussion, anywhere and everywhere I find anyone referring to this paper, I will present the truth as Janet Crain simply cannot 'moderate the internet.' 

The way I see it if Janet Crain was doing 'damage control' she would have been much better off to allow an open discussion and answer questions about the project and paper rather than banning and moderating the members. Take heed, you are not getting anything near the truth on neither of Rootweb Melungeon lists, and probably won't until Rootsweb finds a new administrator. 

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